During the last General Assembly session, lawmakers created a temporary fix to stabilize Maryland’s Obamacare exchange after Congress repealed the individual mandate to buy health insurance. Now, the Democratic gubernatorial candidates are backing what they say would be a permanent fix.
The candidates say they are in favor of replacing the “individual mandate,” with the “down payment plan.” Both require all Marylanders to be insured. But this permanent fix—to be proposed in the next General Assembly session—would allow Marylanders to opt into the state’s health exchange on their state income tax return, and it would place penalties on those uninsured.
Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, a Prince Georges County Democrat, said at a news conference this morning she will sponsor the bill.
“When you buy a home you are required to have insurance, in case of a fire," said Pena-Melnyk. "So why shouldn’t you have it for healthcare? When you choose not to have insurance we all pay for it.”
Stan Dorn, a senior fellow at the nonprofit Families USA, says it would increase the number of Marylanders with insurance, reduce the number of people penalized, and keep health coverage affordable.
Governor Larry Hogan, who helped broker the temporary fix, says he would consider any proposed legislation.